Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tips To Make Packing Lunches Easier

Tomorrow is the day around here.  Can you hear the school bells ringing?  No more sleeping in until 10:00am. We will all be back into the routine tomorrow.  My least favorite duty will be back too. Packing lunches. I'm not sure why I have devolped a strong dislike for this chore, but I am trying to make it more enjoyable.  Last year I discovered some tricks to make it less of a chore. For some reason I am unable to post my photos today or spell check (how fitting for the start of school), but I think you will still enjoy these tips.

I bake our favorite cookies, brownies, or muffins and portion and package them in snack bags and store them in a plastic container in the freezer.  I just need to reach in the freezer and grab something for a lunch or breakfast on the go. This is less expensive than pre-packaged items you purchase at your grocery store and you know what ingredients your children are ingesting. You can bag an entire batch or bag half a batch, it is your choice.

I have also started portioning snacks like pretzels, goldfish or homemade popcorn in snack bags and storing in the pantry.  This way you get the cost savings of purchasing in bulk, but the convenience of correct serving size and individual packages.

You can also portion and package fruits and vegetables for lunches. This can be done on Sunday and you can make it through most of the week.  I recomend grapes, carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, broccoli, and peppers.

Freeze juice boxes and yogurt.  They keep the other food cold and will be thawed by lunch.

Assemble lunches at night and store in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning you just grab and go.

I made some mini muffins this weekend and bagged them for breakfast on the go. Here is a cost saving tip:  Peel and freeze your too ripe bananas in a storage bag or freezer container to use in smoothies and muffin recipes.  The bananas will thaw and mash in minutes to be used in baked goods or use them straight out of the freezer for smoothies. Don't be afraid to stock up when you see bananas on the reduced rack.

Banana Mini-Muffins
(makes 5 dozen mini muffins)

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 400F. 
Mix sugar and oil in 2 1/2 quart bowl.  Stir in eggs until blended.  Add bananas and water; beat 30 seconds.  Sitr in remaining ingredients, except nuts and stir until moistened; stir in nuts.  Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 

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